Hardline Iranian lawmakers have petitioned authorities to bar two contenders - a moderate former president and a protege of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - from running in next month's presidential election.
About 100 lawmakers appealed to the country's Guardian Council, which vets and short-lists all those seeking to run in the June 14 election, according to a report Wednesday by the semi-official Fars news agency cited by The Associate Press,
One of the lawmakers, Javad Karimi Qodoosi, says they want ex-president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani barred for supporting the opposition in the disputed 2009 vote.
Qodoosi says the lawmakers also want the Council to disqualify Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a close confident of Ahmadinejad, for his alleged un-Islamic attitudes.
Rafsanjani and Mashaei last week submitted their candidacies to the Council, which is to announce the finalists later this month.
The president had accompanied Mashaie on Saturday to register at the Interior Ministry, sparking speculation that Ahmadinejad may face punishment if charged with breaking electoral rules.
Iranian electoral law bans individuals from supporting candidates in an official capacity, while the use of state resources on behalf of or against any candidate is also banned.
A conviction could bring a maximum punishment of six months in jail or 74 lashes, according to Iranian press reports.
A report by Iranian online news site, Khabar, on Monday stated the president had “introduced an individual [Mashaie] as an election candidate.”
A spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodai, said the council’s supervisory board unanimously agreed “the...actions of the president in introducing an individual as an election candidate constituted a violation and were criminal,” according to Khabar.
“We reported the facts to the judiciary,” Kadkhodai said.
“If President Ahmadinejad had trespassed the electoral process, it’s up to judiciary to decide and not the Guardian Council,” Iranian political analyst and writer Camelia Entekhabifard told Al Arabiya English.